The important conditions that the Mother discovered for the physical transformation are purification, universalisation and impersonalisation of the physical consciousness. In her conversation with Satprem on April 6, 1963, the Mother gave a very interesting and instructive account of the progress in the impersonalisation of the physical consciousness as follows:
There is progress in the impersonalization of the physical, bodily consciousness, with consequences that are probably interesting, but impossible to explain to people who don't understand. For instance ...
I am conscious of the body, but it isn't the consciousness of this body (Mother touches her body): it's the consciousness of THE Body—it may be anyone's body. I am conscious, for instance, of vibrations of disorder (most often they come in the form of suggestions of disorder) in order to see whether they are accepted and have an
effect. Let's take the example of a suggestion of hemorrhage, or some such suggestion (I mention hemorrhage because it will soon come into the picture). Under the higher Influence, the body consciousness rejects it. Then begins the battle (all this takes place all the way down in the cells, in the material consciousness) between what we could call the "will for hemorrhage," for example, and the reaction of the body's cells. But it's very like a real battle, a real confrontation. And all of a sudden, there's something like a general issuing a command and saying, "What's this!"... You understand, that general is conscious of the higher forces, the higher realities and the divine intervention in Matter; and after trying to use the will, this reaction, that feeling of peace and so on, suddenly he is SEIZED by a very strong determination and issues a command—in no time the effect begins to make itself felt, and little by little everything returns to order. All this takes place in the material consciousness. Physically, the body has all the sensations—but not the hemorrhage, you understand. But it does have the sensations, that is, the effects: all the sensory effects. It goes on for a while and then follows a whole curve. All right. Once the battle is over, I take a look and wonder (I observe the whole thing, I see my body, which has been fairly shaken, mind you), I say to myself, "What in the world is all this?" But just for a second, then I forget about it.
A few days afterwards, I receive a letter from someone very close, who has an ardent faith and really holds on to me with almost perfect faith, exceptional. In the letter: the whole story, the attack, the hemorrhage, how suddenly the being is SEIZED, the consciousness is SEIZED with an irresistible will, and hears words—the very
words that were uttered HERE. The result: saved (he was dying), saved, cured.
Just enough time for the letter to reach me.
I remembered my episode ... and began to understand that my body is everywhere!!
You see, it's not a question of just these cells here: it's a question of cells in, well, quite a lot of people, hundreds, maybe thousands—all that clings anywhere and in any way to the higher Consciousness. And since my mind is silent (I deliberately keep the mind absolutely still, trying not to react to all that constantly comes to it from "outside," or trying to react almost subconsciously), nothing is there to think, "Oh, it's this one's body, it's that one's body"—it's THE Body! That's what is so difficult for people to understand. It is THE body--this (Mother touches her body) is not my body any more than other bodies (a bit more, in the sense that it is more directly the object of the concentration of the Force). So everything, all the sensations, the movements of consciousness, the battles, all of it is everywhere. And suddenly, with this little affair, oh, I understood a fantastic number of things—and also the difficulty, mon petit!... The difficulty ... because really, after this experience, the body was not ill but very tired. But then it is seized with such things all the time! All the time, all the time, all the time, you know, they spring up, bum! pounce on it, bum! from this side, that side, every which way. So I have to keep still (gesture of stopping, silent, in the midst of other activities), and then I start waging the battle.
Which means the body has got its own difficulties (no
aggregate of cells is free from difficulties in the present conditions of life), and I think that its capacity to keep still (to an extent) is its only safeguard ... but that doesn't reduce the difficulties at all, since the contact doesn't even depend on the physical presence! But then what tremendous, prodigious power has to be EMBODIED in the physical cells to withstand all that! ...
But there too, a shift is taking place (what I told you once: those abrupt experiences that do not settle in but are first contacts). After the lesson was drawn from this story, suddenly something arose in the body consciousness—which isn't ONE body's consciousness but a general body consciousness – an aspiration, something so pure, so sweet ... so sweet ... something like an entreaty that Truth and Light may at last be manifested here, in this. Not "here in this" (Mother touches her own body): it was everywhere.
Then there was a contact—there was a contact—and a pale blue Light, very sweet, very bright, and an Assurance.
It lasted only a second, but it was like a new chapter suddenly opening up.
Mon petit, you are the only person to whom I can say all this – there is not one, not one! Not one able to simply understand. Which makes things more difficult, because I am constantly weighed down by the stupidity of people's thoughts (stupidity in the sense of incomprehension), the thoughts of all those around me, who think I am ("I," what they call "I," you know, "me"), who think I am ill and ... I can't tell them a thing! If I hadn't spoken to you today, it would be gone. I would never have said anything. Well, that's the way it is.
So looking at it from an ordinary viewpoint, it's so ...
fantastic, it means such a ... colossal work. Of course,
it's the Lord who does it, but will this hold out? (Mother touches her body) I can't say.
If He wants, certainly He will find a way for it to hold out. But the thing is rather new....
The question was often raised by the Mother whether the process of transformation would continue uninterruptedly and produce a new 'divine' body or whether it may be dissolved at a certain stage. On this question the Mother made several statements from time to time, but she never indicated that she had any full assurance that a new 'divine' body would emerge from her body or that her body would not be dissolved. One of the important statements in this connection is in the following conversation recorded in the Agenda (July 31, 1963):
Mother seems quite shaken and tired, though smiling as always
I've made a discovery — not positively a discovery, but a confirmation. A rather interesting observation.
There was a sort of periodicity in the attacks — can I call them "physical "? ... They're not physical, although they're on the body. They didn't recur at exactly regular intervals, because the periods of time in between weren't always the same, but there was a sort of analogy, of similarity in the circumstances. And now I have come to a kind of certainty.
The work consists, I could say, in ... either removing or transforming (I am not sure which of the two) all the
1. Mother's Agenda, Vol. 4, pp. 109-11.
body's cells that are or have been under the influence of Falsehood (not "lie" but falsehood), of the state contrary to the Divine. But since probably a radical purge or transformation would have resulted in nothing but the body's dissolution, the work goes on in stages, progressively (I am going very far back in time, to my first attacks). So the sequence is the following: first, a series of activities or visions (but those visions are always activities at the same time: both activities and visions) in the subconscious domain, showing in a very living and objective way the Falsehood that has to be removed (transformed or removed). At first, I took them as adverse attacks, but now I see they are "states of falsehood" to which certain elements in the physical being are linked (at the time, I thought, "I am brought into contact with that because of the correspondence in me," and I worked on that level —but it's another way of seeing the same thing). And it produces ... certainly there is a dissolution—there is a transformation, but a dissolution too—and that dissolution naturally brings about an extreme fatigue or a sort of exhaustion in the body; so between two of those stages of transformation, the body is given time to recover strength and energy.1 And I had noticed that those "attacks" al-
1. A few days later, Mother added: "There is also something I left unsaid: an urgent need to cease all material activity in order to enable the body to receive fully—as fully as possible—the divine Force that will replace what has been removed. There is something absolute about that need: to stay totally still, quiet, letting the Force descend —permeate the body, rather. All physical activity must be suspended in some way, and if the material organization, or the habit, tends to make it continue, a kind of material impossibility, an excessive fatigue or discomfort, comes to oblige the body to keep still. Because simply to remove or change what shouldn't be there won't do; it must also be replaced by what SHOULD be there. Otherwise, there would be a dwindling or gradual reduction of substance resulting in dissolution. What has been sublimated or removed has to be replaced by something which is the true Vibration, the one that comes straight from the Supreme."
ways come after the observation (an observation I made these last few days) of a great increase in power, energy and force; when the body grows more and more solid, there always follows the next day or the day after, first, a series of nights I could call unpleasant (they are not, for they're instructive), and then a terrible battle in the body. This time I was conscious—naturally, I am conscious every time, but (smiling) more so every time.
I had observed lately that the body was getting much stronger, much more solid, that it was even putting on weight (!), which is almost abnormal. Then, I had a first vision (not vision: an activity, but very clear), then another, and then a third. Last night, I was fed a subtle food, as if to tell me that I would need it because I wouldn't take any physical food (not that I thought about it, I simply noticed I had been fed, given certain foods). And with the visions I had the two preceding nights, I knew that at issue were certain elements forming part of the body's construction (psychological construction), and that they had to be eliminated. So I worked hard for their elimination. And today, the battle was waged.
But then, as I had worked hard for the elimination, the battle was quite formidable – when it exceeds a certain measure, the heart has trouble, and then I need to rest. That's how it happened. But it was so clear, so obvious! And the entire process was SEEN from the beginning, every single step of it, it's ... a marvel! A marvel of consciousness, of measure, of dosage, to allow the purification and transformation to take place without disrupting the balance, so that dissolution does not occur. It's based on the capacity to endure and withstand (naturally, if the body were unable to endure, that work couldn't be done).
And now the body KNOWS (in the beginning it didn't, it thought it was "attacks" from the outside, "adverse" forces; and it can always be explained like that, it was true in a certain way, but it wasn't the true truth, the deepest truth), now the body KNOWS where it all comes from, and it's so marvelous! A marvel of wisdom.... It puts everything in its place, it makes you REALIZE that all that play of the adverse forces is a way of seeing things (a necessary way at a given time, maybe—by "necessary," I mean practical), but it's still an illusion; illnesses are a necessary way of seeing things to enable you to resist properly, to fight properly, but it's still an illusion. And now, the BODY itself knows all this—as long as it was only the mind that knew it, it was a remote notion in the realm of ideas, but now the body itself knows it. And it is full not only of goodwill but also of an infinite gratitude —it always wonders (that's its first movement), "Do I have the capacity?" And it always gets the same answer, "It isn't YOUR capacity." "Will I have the strength?"—"It isn't YOUR strength." Even that sense of infirmity disappears in the joy of infinite gratitude—the thing is done with such goodness, such insight, such thoughtfulness, such care to maintain, as far as possible, a progressive balance.
It came with a certitude, an OBVIOUSNESS: this is the process of transformation.
But this time, there was a voluntary collaboration, so maybe it will go faster.
I was unable to do my work: the jolt was too strong. But I said I would see you because I wanted to tell you about it.
It's odd, when I am in that state, I feel as if to make myself heard I have to lift a staggering weight. I feel (for a few days now) as if I have to speak very, very loudly to be heard; it's almost like a mass ... yes, as though I were buried underground and had to shout very loudly in order to be heard.
Am I speaking very loudly?
Because, with everybody, I feel as if I had to shout in order to be heard—and it's an effort, a considerable effort. There is a sort of mass, the color of brownish earth, weighing down on me, as though I were buried and had to shout. All the while I was speaking to you just now, I felt as if I were making an enormous effort to be heard. Am I shouting or ...?
Not at all?
No, it must be the thickness of consciousnesses that you're feeling?
Yes, it's the air—it's in the air.
And I was told something this morning (I think it was this morning, or in the night, I don't remember); it was said to the body, not to me. The body was told that it would
go on till complete purification, and that AT THAT POINT it will have the choice between continuing its work or ... You see, once it has attained complete purification from the cellular point of view (not what people call physical "purity," that's not it), from the point of view of the divine Influence, which means that each cell will be under the exclusive influence of the Supreme (that's the work under way now), the body was told that that work would be done, and once it was completed, the body ITSELF, entirely under the Supreme's influence, would decide whether it wants to continue or be dissolved.
It was very interesting, because ... dissolution means a scattering, but to scatter (that's easy to understand) is a way to SPREAD the consciousness over a very large area. So the cells will be given the choice either to act in that way (gesture of diffusion) or to act in agglomeration (Mother makes a fist).
It's the first time the problem has been envisaged from that angle, that is to say, from the standpoint of a general work.
But I don't see how the scattering ... If it is scattered, if it is dissolved, the whole work is dissolved, isn't it?
No, each cell is perfectly conscious. Then they would go into other bodies?
(Mother remains thoughtful a moment) What happens from the material point of view?... Do they know if
it reverts to inert Matter, or what? Does it become dust—what does it become?
They're not cells any more?
No, I don't think so.
Then that's not it, because according to what I was told, they were cells — they remained cells.
It must be something new.
They remained cells, it was the cell that was given the choice either of staying in its present agglomeration or of spreading.
I don't know, but it seems to me they could persist only in agglomeration with other living beings.
Are the cells in the human body different from the cells in other bodies, in animals, for instance? Or are they the same?
Except for certain specialized cells, the other cells aren't different, I believe.
But the specialized cells must be the ones in question, because those in question are fully conscious cells—they are specialized cells.
So I don't see that they could go into animals, I don't think they're the same kind
They could only go into other human organisms.
Maybe it's the difference between ONE being and many beings? ...
It must be something in preparation. We'll see.
So mon petit, I'll let you go now, because ...
* * *
A few days afterwards, t
he Mother added this reflection:
It is clearly (according to external logic) a new way of dying that must be possible no longer death as we regard it. But that ... for the moment, all we could say would be speculative, not a concrete experience.
* * *
Here is an interesting account of one of the Mother's cellular experiences:
...last night, I had a series of fantastic cellular experiences, which I cannot even explain and which must be the beginning of a new revelation.
When the experience began, there was something looking on (you know, there is always in me something looking on somewhat ironically, always amused) which said,
1. Mother 's Agenda, Vol. 4, pp. 246-51.
"Very well! If that happened to someone else, he would think he was quite sick! (laughing) Or half mad." So I stayed very quiet and thought, "All right, let it be, I'll watch, I'll see—I'll see soon enough! It has started, so - it will have to end! ..." Indescribable! Indescribable (the experience will have to recur several times before I can understand), fantastic! It started at 8:30 and went on till 2:30 in the morning; that is to say, not for a second did I lose consciousness, I was there watching the most extraordinary things—for six hours.
I don't know where this is going....
Indescribable; you know, you become a forest, a river, a mountain, a house—and it's the sensation (an absolutely concrete sensation) OF THE BODY, of this (gesture to the body). Many other things too. Indescribable. It lasted a long time, with a whole variety of things.
So at 2:30 in the morning, I said to the Lord, "That will do, won't it?!" (Mother laughs) And He gave me a blissful rest till 4:30.
All that on the aphorism! ... Anyway, you can use the beginning. But you should ask me a question. Ask me a question.
I asked myself if for everybody the supramental process will always automatically involve a lot of physical suffering.
No, because I have a growing proof that those things I have mastered now, in the body, I have the power (I keep receiving letters and notes from here or there, from people here or there who have an illness) ... it is beginning;
so far it's only a beginning, a very small beginning: the power to eliminate pain.
You know, on a smaller scale, what happened with your illness.
Yes, but I didn't mean sick people. I mean people who today or in the future will seek to effect the transformation in themselves.
No, they ...
Will they have to go through all that suffering?
No! That Sri Aurobindo wrote very clearly: for all those who have faith and open themselves in surrender and faith, the work will be done automatically. As long as he was here, mon petit, all the thirty years I spent with him working, NOT ONCE did I have to make an effort for a transformation. Simply, whenever there was a difficulty, I repeated, My Lord, my Lord, my Lord ... I just thought of him—hop! it went away. Physical pain: he annulled it. You know, some things that were hampering the body, some old habits that had come back, I only had to tell him: off they would go. And through me, he did the same for others. He always said that he and I did the Work (in fact, when he was here, it was he who did it; I only did the external work), that he and I did the Work, and that all that was asked from the others was faith and surrender, nothing more.
If they had trust and gave themselves in perfect trust, the Work was done automatically.
In your body's cells, it is therefore a universal progress
that is being made, it the earth that progresses. Yes.
This body was built for that purpose, because I remember very well that when the war – the First World War – started and I offered my body up in sacrifice to the Lord so that the war would not be in vain, every part of my body, one after another (Mother touches her legs, her arms etc.), or sometimes the same part several times over, represented a battlefield: I could see it, I could feel it, I LIVED it. Every time it was ... it was very strange, I had only to sit quietly and watch: I would see here, there; there, the whole thing in my body, all that was going on. And while it went on, I would put the concentration of the divine Force there, so that all—all that pain, all that suffering, everything—would hasten the preparation of the earth and the Descent of the Force. And that went on consciously throughout the war.
The body was built for that purpose.
At the time, there was still a lot of mental activity, and those experiences took all the forms the mind gives to things—very nice, very literary! Now, all that is over —happily, thank God! A complete silence—I don't make speeches on the thing. But the experience of last night! ... And to think that when an experience lasts half an hour, three quarters of an hour, one hour, it's considered extraordinary—it lasted from 8:30 till 2:15, nonstop.
A sort of ubiquity in the cells?
A oneness—the sense of Oneness.
It is clear that if this experience becomes natural, spontaneous and constant, death can no longer exist: even for this, I mean (Mother touches her body).
There's something I SENSE there, without being able to express or understand it mentally. There must be some difference, even in the behavior of the cells, when you leave your body.
It must be another phenomenon that takes place.1
* * *
Between 1962 and 1967, the Mother had numerous experiences of the mastery over and liberation from the hold of the physical mind. At the same time, she underwent the training of the cells resulting in the growth and development of the mind of the cells. These five years were marked by nonstop illness and countless heart problems which led her to find the key to the functioning of the cells. In order that the cells could function `purely'—without any intrusion of factors foreign to its substance, the body had to be emptied completely of its old habits and its old coatings. This meant a direct contact of the supermind with the cells without the need to pass through the layers of the intellectual mind, the vital mind, the sensory mind and the physical mind. All the protective walls of the species had to disappear so that the new species can emerge.
Indeed, as we have seen above, the first radical turning point
1. Ibid., pp. 270-72.
was in 1962. As the Mother said:
It began when the doctors declared I was seriously ill , that was the beginning. Because the entire body was emptied of its habits and forces,...
I couldn't take a step without fainting: if I wanted to
walk from here to there, poff! I would faint on the way;
I had to be held up so my body wouldn't drop to the ground.... But as for me, not for one minute did I lose consciousness! I would faint but remain conscious, I would see my body and know I had fainted; I didn't lose consciousness, the body didn't lose consciousness. So now I understand! The body was cut off from the vital and the mind and left to its own means...1
In 1965 she had said:
I had always been under the impression of what Sri Aurobindo said: "This instrument [the physical mind] is useless, it can only be got rid of...." It was very difficult to get rid of it because it was so intimately linked to the aggregate of the physical body and its present form ... it was difficult; and when I tried and a deeper consciousness tried to manifest, it used to cause fainting. I mean that the union, the fusion, the identification with the Supreme Presence without that, without this physical mind, by annulling it, caused fainting. I didn't know what to do...2
Let us study certain other 'important' experiences in the same domain:
...the universal Consciousness... [was] saying, "But here are the obstacles...." And those obstacles were clearly seen: that kind of pessimism of the mind (a formless mind that's beginning to be born and organized in these cells). But the cells themselves didn't care a whit! To them it was like a disease, they said, "Oh, that ..." (the word distorts, but it was felt as a sort of "accident" or an "inescapable disease or something that DID NOT FORM
1. Mother's Agenda, Vol. 5, p 197.
A NORMAL PART of their development and had been forced on them), "Oh, that, we don't care about it!" And then, at that moment, a sort of LOWER power to act on that mind was born; it gave the cells a MATERIAL power to separate themselves from that and reject it.
... something truly decisive had taken place. There was a sort of trusting joy: "Ah! We're free from that nightmare."...
And at the same time, a relief—a physical relief—as if the air were easier to breathe.... Yes, it was a bit like being shut inside a shell—a suffocating shell—and ... at any rate, an opening has been made in it. You can breathe. I don't know if it's more than that, but at any rate, something has been as if torn open, and you can breathe.
It was a totally, totally material and cellular action.1
The cells, the whole material consciousness, used to obey the inner individual consciousness—the psychic consciousness most of the time, or the mental (but the mind had been silent for a long time). But now this material mind is organizing itself like the other one, or the other ones, rather, like the mind of all the states of being – do you know, it is educating itself. It is learning things and organizing the ordinary science of the material world. When I write, for instance, I have noticed that it takes great care not to make spelling errors; and it doesn't know, so it inquires, it learns, it looks up in the dictionary or it asks. That's very interesting. It wants to know. You see, all the memory that came from mental knowledge went away a long, long time ago, and I used
1. Ibid., pp. 224-5.
to receive indications only like this (gesture from above). But now it's a sort of memory being built from below... It's like a shift in the directing will. And then, there was materially, physically, a sort of surprise, and a need to identify with the new direction – it's a little difficult. It's difficult to explain, too.... It's no longer the same thing that makes you act—"act" or anything, of course: move, walk, anything...
The most difficult part is in the nerves, because they are so habituated to that ordinary conscious will that when it stops and you want the direct Action from the highest height, they seem to become mad. Yesterday morning I had that experience, which lasted for more than an hour, and it was difficult; but it taught me many things – many things. And all this is what we may call the "transfer of power": it is the old power that withdraws. But then, until the body adapts to the new power, there is a period which is, well, critical. As all the cells are in a state of conscious aspiration, it's going relatively fast, but still ... the minutes are long.
... this material, cellular mind, I can assure you that it's absolutely new! Absolutely new.1
1. Mother's Agenda, Vol. 6, pp. 224-5 and 230-1.
an object. And it is a different quality of vision, a vision ... (how can I explain it?) as if light were shining from within things instead of shining on them: it isn't a reflected light. It isn't luminous, it isn't like a candle, for instance, or a lamp, not that, but instead of being lit by a projected light, things have their own light, which doesn't radiate.
It's becoming more and more frequent, but with perfect illogic. Which means that I don't understand the logic of it at all; I don't know why this thing ["lights up"] rather than that thing, or that rather than this: suddenly something leaps to the eyes—"Ah!"—and it's gone in a flash. And the vision is so precise! Extraordinary, with the full understanding of the thing seen while you are seeing it...
For instance, I noticed this while washing early in the morning: I go into the bathroom before turning the light on, because I turn it on from inside; but I see just as clearly as when the light is on! It makes no difference. And then everything was as if behind a kind of veil. Then I turned my attention (or rather my attention was drawn) and I said to myself, "But all this is becoming so lackluster, it's completely uninteresting!" And I started thinking (not thinking, but becoming aware of one thing or another), and suddenly, I saw that phenomenon of a bottle in the cupboard becoming so clear, so ... with an inner life (gesture as if the bottle lit up from inside). "Oh!" I said—the next minute, it was over...
... this is clearly the preparation for a vision through the inner light rather than projected light. And it is ... oh, it's warm, living, intense—and of such precision! You see everything at the same time, not only the color and shape, but the character of the vibration: in a liquid, the
character of its vibration—it's marvelous.1
And everything is a question of changing the habit. The whole automatic habit of millennia must be changed into a conscious action, directly guided by the supreme Consciousness.2
I am not doing it mentally, it's not that I think, "A letter must be sent to so-and-so and such and such a thing must be done," not at all: I live—I live a scene or narrate a scene, and it's received by someone else (and I am not at all thinking of that someone else), it's received by "someone," this or that or this person, as a message in which I tell him to do this or that thing. And it's happening here, in France, in America, everywhere.
It's becoming amusing!
Someone writes to me, "You told me this," and it's one of my "scenes"! One of the scenes I lived—not "lived," lived and created at the same time! I don't know how to explain it. It's like a work of ... (Mother seems to feel an invisible substance between her fingers, as if fashioning it).
And it's not me, of course! Here (Mother touches her forehead), Lord, thank God, I hope it will go on forever: quiet, calm, so calm, so tranquil, so peaceful. But it comes from every side! (gesture of innumerable communications pouring into this silence)
There are stories of countries, stories of governments; I don't know the result there—maybe we'll see after some time.
And in this type of activity, I have all kinds of knowledge that I don't have! Sometimes even medical knowledge or technical knowledge that I don't at all have—yet that I have, of course, since I say, "This is how it is, that is how it is...." It's rather amusing.1
1. Ibid., pp. 201-2.
The Mother's body had become a living and conscious laboratory of the new species. Sri Aurobindo had written long ago:
The animal is a living laboratory in which Nature, it is said, worked out man. Man himself may well be a thinking and living laboratory in whom and with whose conscious co-operation she wills to work out the superman...1
Three simultaneous and inter-related processes were going on in the Mother's body. Firstly, there was a progressive dissolution of the Inconscience at its utmost bottom. Secondly, there was the infiltration, permeation and invasion of the Supermind in the cellular consciousness so as to counteract the Falsehood in Matter, Life and Mind. Thirdly, there was the gradual transformation of the body by means of the collaboration and change of the material mind and by means of radical changes in various functionings of organs and faculties.
1. Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Centenary Library, Vol. 18, pp. 3-4.